Cheetahs’ late surge floors Griquas
MATCH REPORT: The Cheetahs concluded their Super Rugby Unlocked campaign with a 28-9 bonus-point win over the Griquas on Saturday at Bloemfontein.
The Cheetahs scored four tries to none in atrocious weather conditions.
*As it happened: Cheetahs v Griquas
The result means that the Cheetahs finish fourth on the log, while the Griquas are bottom of the table with no wins.
The scoreboard does not reflect the teams’ performance wet conditions made handling difficult and put extra emphasis on tactical awareness, while it also laid a platform for the forwards to get stuck in.
However, the home team probably had the better of the situation, dominating in the scrums and successfully fielding an aerial assault on their back trio from the men from the Northern Cape.
In the end, tries by Andisa Ntsila, Howard Mnisi , Ruben de Haas – all from clever attacking kicks – and Jeandré Rudolph, from a good lineout move, ensured a bonus-point victory for the Free Staters on a day where both teams’ kickers struggled with their aim at times.
The Cheetahs’ discipline let them down at crucial times, which allowed flyhalf Tinus de Beer to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Griquas and they were in a deserved 9-8 lead at the break.
The home team were out of the blocks the fastest though, with Ntsila scoring a well-worked try in the third minute after Tian Meyer exploited the space down the blindside with a good grubber, and Rosko Specman dribbling it further before Ntsila fell on the ball.
De Beer and his opposite number, Tian Schoeman traded penalty goals and with 20 minutes gone, the home team were in the lead by 8-3.
But the Griquas pivot had three more shots at goal in the second quarter, slotting two and missing a monster kick of more than 50m, to take his team into the lead at the break.
Almost 10 minutes into the second half, Mnisi scored his side’s second try which put the Free Staters back in the lead by 13-9 – a position they never relinquished but also failed to improve on with the visitors thwarting a number of attacking mauls midway through the second half.
With their maul not really working, the Cheetahs decided to have a shot at goal at around the hour mark, which Schoeman landed to increase the home team’s lead to 16-9.
With the pressure increasing on the visitors as they struggled to get their hands on the ball, the Cheetahs scored two late tries to put the result beyond any doubt, first with De Haas dotting down after another “hack ahead”, before Rudolph had the final say with his five-pointer from a clever lineout move.
Tries: Ntsila, Mnisi, De Haas, Rudolph
Pens: Schoeman 2
Pens: De Beer 3
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Howard Mnisi, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner (captain), 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Teboho Mohoje, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 William Small-Smith
Griquas: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Carl Els, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Adré Smith, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 HJ Luus, 1 Mox Mxoli.
Replacements – from: Monde Hadebe, Andrew Beerwinkel, Madot Mabokela, Ewan Coetzee, CJ Velleman, Theo Maree, André Swarts, Daniel Kasende, Bandisa Ndlovu, Sibabalo Qoma, Ashlon Davids.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby, Paul Mente
TMO: Willie Vos
*Photo credit: Speedshots.co.za